When you’re running late and need to get through traffic, you may put the pedal to the metal and travel beyond the posted limit. You may get to your destination sooner, but at what cost?
Consequences of Speeding
As statistics show, speeding literally kills. In less extreme instances, speeding also comes with financial costs. Depending on where and how much you go over the speed limit, you could be facing a ticket between $150 and $1,000, plus:
- Extra points on your license
- Appearance in traffic court
- Higher insurance rates
With repeat offenses, you could lose your driving privileges or be dropped by your insurance carrier. While these disadvantages may make you lighten up on the gas, simply going slower isn’t enough.
Community speed limits aren’t posted at random. Rather, they indicate the potential hazards higher speeds have on the surroundings. In residential neighborhoods, that could be accidentally hitting a pedestrian crossing the street or an accident with a driver pulling out of a parking spot.
Judgment also plays a factor and as a motorist, you’re expected to pay attention to the road ahead. As such, anything from construction work to a traffic backup to wet, slippery roads during a rain storm warrants more caution – even if you have to drive far below the posted limit. As such, a driver zipping by a work area could be ticketed.
With these considerations in mind, how dangerous is speeding?
It’s Responsible for a High Number of Fatalities and Injuries
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speeding is behind one-third of all traffic-related fatalities, second only to alcohol. Roughly 13,000 people die in car accidents related to speeding each year.
Even when speeding doesn’t result in a fatality, many passengers become injured. NHTSA’s statistics show that 40,000 people are critically injured, 70,000 moderately injured and 600,000 minorly injured each year from a crash involving a speeding vehicle.
In general, the higher the speed a car travels, the greater the injuries are when a crash occurs. NHTSA’s findings indicate that, once a driver is traveling over 50 MPH, the force of a crash doubles every 10 MPH above the speed limit. At especially high speeds, the vehicle simply can’t handle the impact. In turn, the car’s safety features – seat belts and air bags – aren’t as effective in preventing crash-related injuries.
The Driver Has Less Control
When you’re speeding, two things happen on the road that could lead to a crash. One, other drivers cannot always tell how fast you’re going. You might have seen this play out on the highway, where one driver speeds down a middle lane and another driver changes into that lane at a slower speed. Meanwhile, the speeding driver has to slam on the brakes or quickly change into an adjacent lane. In a worst-case scenario, the driver pulling into the lane gets hit from behind and the impact is enough to significantly damage both vehicles.
Added to this point, traveling at an extreme speed drastically reduces a driver’s control on the road:
- A speeding driver has a harder time maneuvering around curves and other objects.
- Higher speeds require more stop time. Unfortunately, once the speeding driver sees a slower-moving motorist in front, it’s often too late – even when you apply your brakes.
- Braking doesn’t automatically stop your car. Once you slam the brake pedal down, your car is still going to travel and it will cover a greater distance than if you were braking at a lower speed.
Even when you brake, you might hit another car, property or a pedestrian.
Engaging in Other Risky Behaviors
A driver who takes one risk is prone to take others. Particularly, NHTSA found that among drivers who speed, a large percentage also don’t wear their seat belts. This greatly increases the risk of injury or death from a high-impact crash. In fact, of all fatal car crashes involving speeding in 2016, roughly half of the drivers involved weren’t wearing this crucial safety device, according to the NHTSA.
It’s Especially Risky for Teens
Based on findings from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, speed isn’t always a risk-taking behavior when teens are behind the wheel. Although some like to push their limits, inexperience is often a factor, particularly in terms of managing safe speeds in relation to road conditions and distances from other vehicles.
- In 2011, over half of teen driving fatalities involved speeding.
- If you compare teens with older, more experienced drivers, teens are more likely to drive at a higher speed. Once a teen is behind the wheel, the headway between his or her car and the vehicle in front is often shorter, thus increasing the chance of a crash.
- Men between 15 and 24 years of age are more likely to speed than any other demographic – including for women in the same age group. For fatalities within this group, speed is behind roughly a third of all crashes.
If you’re a driver hit by a speeding motorist, the incident not only catches you off guard, but it further could leave you with life-changing injuries, from broken bones and nerve damage to a traumatic brain injury. As you proceed through your claim, the other driver’s insurance carrier often tries to place part of the blame on you, preventing you from getting the compensation you deserve. In this situation, turn to Trantolo & Trantolo to make some headway. To begin, give us a call today.